My word for the day spent in Haiti is "teach." It's amazing how common daily thoughts, words, and activities take on completely different meanings when confronted with how education is seen by the director of a free school, Jean Garry. School was not being held today in the small village of Titanyen, due to some riots in the area, so our plans to visit the children in the classrooms was changed. God had a better plan in mind however, a lesson for the visitors instead of the students.
Jean shared with us his hopes and dreams for the school which is being held in a rented structure, consisting of a typical concrete block structure with dirt floors, openings only for doors and windows, and corregated metal lean-tos for additional classrooms. He stressed the importance of the education for the children of his country to give them not only a chance to survive but to be like the little boy David in the Bible who became King. They may be poor in material possessions, but incredibly rich in faith. Jean currently has 417 children attending his school. Because of space limitations, he frequently turns away parents wanting to send their children to the school. He relies totally on God's provision of sponsors, namely Healing Haiti, for the supplies, teachers, and daily needs of the school's operation.
As he so humbly talked of his situation, I was constantly reminded of my own former teaching days and our frequent complaints of lack of materials, low pay and benefits, and unappreciative students and parents. Yet here in Haiti, a 26 year old man of God, has taken the call to faithfully lead teachers and children, despite the conditions, to learn the basics of education so they may eventually be the leaders of their society.
When asked what the needs of the school were, he hesitantly replied- just a laptop computer to write the exams for the students. Then, it wouldn't be necessary for him to leave school for a few days to travel to Port Au Prince and process the exams for all the classes. His dedication, committment, and sacrifice for his staff and students can only be given by God.
Today all on our team were taught invaluable lessons in faithfulness, dedication, committment, and the true love of God for his children especially when we are willing for the one and only "teacher" to instruct us, His humble servants.
Written by Sue
Team Member Healing Haiti